tv NBC Nightly News NBC March 5, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
on this thursday night, edge of disaster. a delta plane careens off a runway in a snowstorm slamming through an airport fence on landing, leaking fuel, passengers just feet from plunging into the water. stranded for miles. an epic scene still playing out on a major highway. hundreds of drivers trapped since last night. the national guard now sent in to rescue them. that shocking attack on an american ambassador. how did a man lunging with a knife get so close? face-to-face. the bombing survivor from that iconic photo takes the stand during a dramatic day in court in boston. and disappearing act at the greatest show on earth. a big change under the big top. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this
is "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, lester holt. good evening. we begin with a terrifying close call here in new york today when a delta airlines jet landing in the middle of a snowstorm careened off the runway and came within feet of sliding into the icy waters of fleshing bay. it happened late this morning at laguardia airport. thankfully the passengers and crew all escaped alive despite the plane suffering significant damage. the airport was closed for hours, flights disrupted. tonight, as we take a live look at the plane still off the edge of the runway, the ntsb is on the scene. the questions have begun starting with the runway conditions at the time and what the pilot was told. tom costello is working the story for us. he has late details. >> reporter: amateur video from inside delta flight 1086 as crew members and firefighters helped passengers escape. >> we don't have a slide.
>> sir, sir, sir. >> i just survived a plane crash. >> reporter: the md-88 with 132 people on board had careened off the runway, up an embankment and crashed through a fence. its nose just inches from flushing bay. the first word that the plane was in trouble came from ground crews who radioed the tower. >> tower, you copy? car 100. runway 13 is closed. >> car 100, you said runway 13 is closed? >> affirmative, 13 is closed. >> aircraft off the runway. >> car 100, say again? >> please advise crash rescue. laguardia airport is closed at this time. >> reporter: flight 1086 was coming in from atlanta landing on laguardia's 13 in snow and icy fog. suddenly about two-thirds of the way down the runway the plane veered to the left. only that embankment and fence kept it from going into the freezing water. >> he's leaking fuel on the left side of his aircraft heavily. >> you said leaking fuel? >> affirm. his wing is ruptured. >> reporter: nbc's stephanie gosk talked to allie clark
who was sitting in the emergency row. >> he says are you ready and prepared to help people out of the plane? >> i absolutely was. >> so you were following people there were little kids on board. >> there were. there were a couple parents traveling with their kids. everybody took great care of everybody getting off the plane. >> reporter: airport managers say the runway had been plowed just prior to the accident and only four minutes earlier other pilots reported no difficulty landing. >> approximately 11:05 two planes landed and reported quote, good braking action on the runways. >> reporter: but laguardia's short runways can be challenging in the best of conditions. >> pilots have to be concerned about getting the airplane down in the first third of the runway. they want it planted solidly especially on a slick or wet runway. they don't have a lot of margin of error. >> reporter: two dozen people suffered minor injuries. the ntsb will be looking at runway conditions where the plane touched down, its speed, braking at the time. this incident coming 23 years after a u.s. air plane crashed
while taking off in a snowstorm in laguardia. 27 people died when the plane went into the water. thankfully today no one was killed. lester. >> tom costello. while that was playing out in new york another major story still developing this hour related to this same storm that stretches far across the country. it's dropped feet of snow in a lot of places just not used to it including the state of kentucky where a nightmare is playing out right now on a major highway. people trapped in cars for 18 hours. some still waiting to be rescued. nbc's john yang reports on an epic traffic jam more than 30 miles long on i-65 south of louisville. >> it's really been scary. >> reporter: denise ganis was one of the hundreds of drivers stranded for more than 15 hours on i-65 in northern kentucky. >> there has been no assistance with food. there's been no assistance with water. so i have been melting ice and snow to drink. >> reporter: nearly 20 inches of snow fell fast across the state piling up quickly. sydney miller and her mom forced
to spend the night in their car. >> we really had no idea what was going on. nothing through the radio telling us there was a crash or anything. we just kept getting woken up through the night by just these strange noises. so that was a little difficult. >> reporter: 200 motorists rescued by the national guard. many taken to red cross warming centers in nearby communities. people took to social media looking for answers. does anyone have any updates on how much longer? going on 13 hours! some people are hitchhiking now. a crew from the louisville nbc affiliate found dozens of abandoned vehicles on roads as they drove toward i-65. elsewhere was a slippery morning commute from maryland to texas where dallas highways were littered with spinouts. >> slick patches of ice everywhere. >> reporter: across the midwest the snow piled up even higher. 25 inches near radcliff, kentucky. 15.5 inches in kennett, missouri. and 14.5 near wheelersburg, ohio.
>> watch out below! >> reporter: and in washington children and parents took to capitol hill despite a ban on sledding to enjoy the snow day. as you can see in this live shot from the helicopter, they have now opened two of the three lanes in that area. traffic moving very slowly. and there are still many abandoned cars waiting to be reclaimed. lester. >> all right, john yang tonight. thanks very much. there is breaking news tonight from southern california. actor harrison ford has been seriously injured, hospitalized after crashing his plane on a golf course. nbc's miguel almaguer has late details. >> reporter: the vintage single engine plane went down on the penmar golf course jurks two blocks from the santa monica airport. tonight with the wreckage mostly intact investigators are trying to determine what went wrong. witnesses rushed to help harrison ford who was barely
recognizable. >> it was a major gash on his forehead. and that's all i saw. ford, 72 years old, is an experienced pilot who has had previous aviation accidents. the faa and ntsb are now investigating. >> it appears to have hit a tree behind us and took off several large branches. so this is some small debris field that we're dealing with. >> reporter: harrison ford was rushed here to ronald reagan hospital shortly after the crash. tonight family members say he is banged up but recovering. first responders say it's incredible he was not seriously injured. lester? >> miguel almaguer tonight, thank you. the u.s. ambassador to south korea, mark lip dppert, a longtime friend of president obama remains in seoul tonight after being attacked by a man with a knife. a lot of questions about security and how did the attacker get so close. our senior white house correspondent chris jansing has more for us.
>> reporter: the violent attack with a 10-inch knife just as about ambassador lippert was about to give a talk on prospect prospects for peace. >> i'm bleeding here. i'm bleeding here. i need an ambulance fast. >> reporter: with deep slashes across his face, arm and hand, lippert was rushed to the hospital. his security detail was small, not unusual in this city considered low risk. while the u.s. embassy is guarded by u.s. marines, he's guarded by south korean security and local police. >> and they will work hand in glove to make sure that they're getting to the bottom of what happened here, what might have gone wrong. >> reporter: the suspect was known to police with a history of violence. korean officials promise stern punishment for those who failed to protect lippert. lippert is close to the president. he started working for him when obama was still a senator and then joined the administration before becoming a diplomat last fall. secretary of state john kerry called the decorated iraq war veteran as tough as they come. lippert walked into the hospital, but doctors say the
knife just missed his jugular. after two hours in surgery and 80 stitches, it will be months before he recovers full use of his fingers. today, south koreans held a rally of support. he's popular here. he and his wife gave their first child a korean name. and he tweeted his appreciation today saying, doing well and in great spirits. will be back asap. the south koreans have stepped up security around the ambassador, but they believe the suspect acted alone. and currently there's no indication the incident will impact security at other u.s. embassies. president obama, who spoke to ambassador lippert before he went into surgery, is being regularly updated on the investigation. lester. >> chris, thank you. hillary clinton has responded to the controversy over her private e-mail which she used exclusively as secretary of state instead of an official government account. she's now asking the state department to release those e-mails, but that doesn't mean the public will see them any time soon. nbc's andrea mitchell explains
why. >> reporter: hillary clinton finally responded. in 140 characters. a tweet just before midnight saying, i want the public to see my e-mail. i asked state to release them. they said they will review them for release as soon as possible. 55,000 pages of e-mail she turned over to the state department last year. but officials say it could take months to decide what involves national security and what can be made public. in saudi arabia, john kerry, who uses government e-mail, sounded impatient about the fuss. >> let me check on that when i actually have time to pay attention to such an important issue when i get home. >> reporter: clinton's tweet still left a lot unanswered. how many more e-mails are there? why should she decide what goes to the government? and why did she create a private e-mail system registered to her chappaqua home in the first place? a possible clue this comment in 2001. >> why would i ever want to do e
had been mail? >> no, no. >> reporter: but her desire for secrecy has sparked subpoenas from the republican-led house committee investigating benghazi. and worries for democrats. >> some democrats, including many who are big, big supporters of her, are worried that there might be something else. >> reporter: john mccain, who says he thinks this is serious, doesn't even use e-mail. >> i'm afraid that if i was e-mailing, given my solid, always calm temperament, that i might e-mail something that i might regret. >> reporter: democratic strategists do worry this feeds the unflattering narrative that the clintons are too secretive. advisers to them say that the problem is her campaign hasn't launched yet and isn't set up to handle this kind of controversy. lester. >> andrea mitchell tonight, thank you. lots of emotion in boston today where the bombing trial pushed forward today. the defense has flatly admitted dzhokhar tsarnaev is guilty, the prosecution is laying out the horror of the crimes in detail and giving those who suffered the most a chance to confront
the man charged with taking so much from them. nbc's peter alexander was at the court today. >> reporter: on that gorgeous spring day nearly two years ago, pure terror. in that instant jeff bauman lost both legs. he remembered thinking this is how it's going to end. i had a great life. testifying in court today he recalled locking eyes with one of the bombers moments before the explosion. he wasn't watching the race. i thought it was weird. bauman later described tamerlan tsarnaev from his hospital bed, a major break leading to the release of this video of the bombing suspects. today prosecutors showed jurors surveillance video of the second bombing they say shows tsarnaev placing his backpack bomb and walking away. 8-year-old martin richard was killed. his father described, when i saw martin's condition i knew he wasn't going to make it. it was at that time i saw my son basically for the last time. mr. richard lost some hearing that day, but he said i can
still hear the beautiful voices of my family. while dzhokhar tsarnaev seems detached in court, his trial is stirring raw emotions. rebekah gregory, who lost her left leg, posted this powerful letter to tsarnaev overnight, hours after testifying against him. >> today, i looked at you right in the face and realized i wasn't afraid anymore. so now while you're sitting in solitary confinement awaiting the verdict on your life, i will be actually enjoying everything this beautiful world has to offer. >> reporter: she says she's closer than ever to her son noah who survived with minor injuries. >> it is painful because at that moment i was completely helpless as a mother. i could do nothing for my son. >> reporter: you all live in houston, but he's clearly boston strong. >> yes. in every sense of the word boston strong. >> reporter: peter alexander, nbc news, boston. a high school student from the suburbs of washington, d.c. is in federal custody tonight accused of helping another young man slip into syria to join isis. authorities say he's just the latest to be lured by jihadist
propaganda on the internet. we get more from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: officials say a 17-year-old from this neighborhood in woodbridge, virginia, about 25 miles south of washington, d.c., helped an 18-year-old get to syria to join up with isis fighters. experts say it's the latest example of a young person radicalized by internet propaganda. >> the message that's being put out there is attractive to people who are just forming identity or who have identity issues. that could be someone who is a little bit older and thinking am i really american or am i muslim or what am i? >> reporter: the 17-year-old, whose name hasn't been released because he's a juvenile, was released to return home. an internal bulletin says isis propaganda "likely influenced a virginia-based youth to create, produce and disseminate violent extremist messaging via social media." authorities say the student, who attended this high school used the internet to make travel arrangements and to find isis contacts. stopping people from getting to syria and tracking them when
they come back has become a priority for the just department, as the attorney told us last week. >> i think over the last 18 months or so we have convicted 25 people or so. we probably have hundreds, you know, under some kind of surveillance. >> reporter: federal officials say they're now working on prosecuting the student as an adult and filing terrorism support charges against the 18-year-old headed for syria. pete williams, nbc news, washington. a busy thursday night. a lot of news ahead including a surprise at the greatest show on earth. a vanishing act under the big top. also a hot seller in one of the coldest places in the country. a pair of aspiring best friend and a good reason to stand outside for hours in the snow.
we're back now with that big change coming to the circus. ringling brothers and barnum and bailey made a surprising announcement today saying it will begin to phase out one of its fixtures for the show for years and by 2018 will no longer use elephants in its show. our national correspondent kate snow has this report. >> reporter: they've been one of the star attractions for the entire 145 years that the ringling brothers circus has been in business. but now it will retire the 13 elephants that are still part of the show. >> consumer sentiment has changed somewhat. we feel that they don't want to see elephants traveling. >> reporter: animal rights groups say the decision shows how much attitudes towards animals are changing. >> it's really like a berlin
wall moment in animal welfare. i think we've reached a tipping point in our society when regular people said, hey, i like the circus, i like to be entertained but not at this price. not if elephants have to be chained for 22 hours a day. >> reporter: there are literally thousands of youtube videos accusing the circus of abuse like this peta video narrated by actor alec baldwin apparently showing baby elephants in training. >> they scream cry and struggle while they're forced into the painful positions necessary. >> reporter: the ringling brothers spokespeople have long denied mistreating animals. in 2011 its parent company reached a settlement with the u.s. government paying a fine for alleged violations of the animal welfare act. ringling brothers says its decision was driven in part by a growing number of local ordinances that prevent circuses with exotic animals from coming to town. by 2018 the circus will keep the elephants at its center for elephant conservation in florida. >> we can devote all of our
resources to them there, and we don't have to fight legislation cropping up in different cities. >> reporter: the show will go on with other wild animals, but not its five-ton stars. kate snow, nbc news, new york. up next, a terrifying moment caught on camera and a reminder to always lock your doors.
cardinal edward egan, the former archbishop of new york, has died. he led the catholic church in new york city for nine years including the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. during his tenure as archbishop he grappled with fallout from the church's sexual abuse scandal apologizing to victims although critics accused him of failing to go far enough. he went into cardiac arrest and died at the hospital. he was 82 years old. want to turn now to the video everyone has been talking about. it was taken by a family driving through a wildlife park in south africa. one of the lions walks over,
nibbles at the door handle and gets it open. the family does manage to slam it shut. probably the best argument we've seen in a while for automatic door locks. when we come back, a story that will leave you with a warm feeling inside not just from the hot chocolate. "nbc nightly news" is brought to you by pacific life. for insurance, annuities and investments, choose pacific life. the power to help you succeed.
if your winter's been anything like ours, it's a perfect night for a cup of hot chocolate, the ultimate comfort food. it's become the ultimate expression of friendship between two little boys in colorado when one of them faced the greatest challenge of his young life. with help from our denver affiliate kusa, we get the story tonight from nbc's joe fryer. >> reporter: denver in the winter is no place for a lemonade stand. >> this is really cold right now. >> reporter: which is why 8-year-old tristan is selling hot cocoa. a buck a cup. two bucks if you like marshmallows. >> could i have hot cocoa with the five marshmallows? >> okay. >> reporter: with such low temps, investment analysts might scowl at such an icy escapade. >> it can be very tough.
>> reporter: until they hear tristan's real business plan. >> my friend cade he had cancer. >> reporter: tristan's talking about his buddy cade humphreys, who was diagnosed with brain cancer. after surgery, chemo, radiation and a bone marrow transplant, there's now no sign of cade's disease. >> children's hospital saved his life. so now i'm trying to sponsor it even more. >> reporter: as word of tristan's ongoing fund-raiser has spread donations have grown. >> that's great. nice of the you to do that. >> reporter: this week he gave $400 to children's hospital colorado and more money is still coming in. his parents are not surprised. >> it's pretty much tristan. that's just the way he is. >> reporter: in this frozen neighborhood, it is not the hot cocoa that will warm your heart. >> i want to just save some lives. >> reporter: it's the salesman. >> hot chocolate for sale. >> reporter: joe fryer, nbc news. >> now, that's a friend. that's going to do it for us on this thursday night.
i'm lester holt. thank you so much for joining us. have a good night. right now at 6:00 we're following two big stories. the dangerous game on the streets of san jose tonight. exclusive new video of fast and furious driving. >> first, one of hollywood's most iconic stars involved in a plane crash. we're getting new details about the condition of harrison ford. good evening and thanks for being with us. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre.
harrison ford crash landed this plane on a golf course in southern california. that's a live look at the wreckage which is still sitting there. ford is an avid pilot. he's in moderate condition at u ucla medical center. the crash happened this afternoon around 2:30 soon after takeoff from the santa monica airport, an airport he often flies out of. the penmar golf course is on the cities of santa monica and venice and it's right next to that golf course. the 72-year-old was flying a rayian world war ii vintage training plane. he was conscious and alert. you're looking at hem right here last year at the film festival in san jose. in the past he's had a few other plane crasheses, at that. he survived a chopper crash in